Universal Studios Hollywood is a working studio and theme park in one. Be part of the movie magic by experiencing 10 of the Best Rides at Universal Studios Hollywood and check out how you can skip the long lines when the crowd at the theme park is at its peak. We’ve also included how to save on tickets so you can maximize the fun and stretch that budget so you can sip more butterbeer and splurge at Ollivanders Wand and Universal Studio Store.
disclosure: We were provided with tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood to facilitate this post. All opinions are our own. This post may contain affiliate links.
HOW TO SKIP THE LINES:
Universal Studios Hollywood is a very popular theme park in California with visitors coming from all over the world. During some weekends, holidays, Spring Break, Summer Break, etc., lines to some rides tend to be long, sometimes 1 to 2 hours long. Before we breakdown the best rides at Universal Studios Hollywood, let’s first discuss the 6 ways to skip the long lines at Universal Studios Hollywood:
The Universal Express Pass allows you one-time express access to each ride, attraction, and seated show so you can skip the regular lines. Instead of buying the general admission ticket, buy the Universal Express Discount Tickets, starting at $184 versus the $239 gate price which already includes 1-day general admission.
On our recent Saturday visit which is peak Spring Break season, we had Universal Express tickets so instead of a 2hr wait for the Studio Tour, we were the first to ride as Universal Express Pass holders. We were able to finish going on all the rides and shows at Universal Studios Hollywood between 9 AM to 6 PM which included lunch break at Minions Cafe, shopping for souvenirs at Universal Studio Store, picking a wand at Ollivanders Wand plus plenty of time in between to try the interactive wand at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, picture taking, ice cream break at Studio Scoop, and trying out Butterbeer.
Learn more about Universal Express Pass and if it is worth buying.
The VIP Experience Pass allows you to skip the regular lines, unlimited times in a day. Buy the Universal VIP Experience Discount Tickets, starting at $329 versus the $399 gate price.
It includes 1-day park admission with unlimited express access to each ride, attraction, and seated show plus the perks of having a guided tour, including the backlot, exclusive VIP gourmet meal, light snack & refreshments, and complimentary valet parking.
The Platinum Pass is the top-tier annual pass available at Universal Studios Hollywood and it comes with a Universal Express access that is valid after 3 PM to each ride, attraction, and seated show. It cost $529 per person but comes with a lot of perks.
Virtual Line Experience
Choose a Virtual Line return time for select attractions then do something else first then come back on your return time instead of waiting in the line. At the moment, only The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash ride has this option available. You can visit the Virtual Line kiosk near the ride to set your return time. If you are a Universal Express ticket holder, you don’t need this option as you can already skip the regular line.
Single Rider Line
Universal Studios Hollywood Single Rider option is available for guests wishing to experience an attraction without friends or family in exchange for a shorter wait time. Single Rider is based on availability at select attractions and is subject to change without notice.
If your children are too small or unwilling to go on a particular ride, take advantage of the Universal Studios Hollywood “child switch” program.
Each ride and attraction has a family room where one member of your party can wait with the little ones while the rest of your party rides. Once they are finished, switch places so whoever rode can stay with the kids, and the adult(s) who sat out can enjoy the ride immediately versus lining up on the regular line all over again. Ask any team member at the entrance of the attraction and they will be happy to assist you.
10 BEST RIDES AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD
Here are 10 of the best rides at Universal including height requirements to ride:
1. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Let’s start with one of the most popular rides at Universal Studios Hollywood – Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey!
Located inside Hogwarts Castle, the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride takes you on a flying adventure with Harry Potter and his friends while coming face to face with an array of magical creatures, including lots of giant spiders.
The Harry Potter and Forbidden Journey is not a roller coaster ride but rather it is a dark ride that simulates flying. Each vehicle seats 4 and is attached to a robotic arm to transport you. Expect lots of surprising twists and turns! It is one of the two Harry Potter rides available at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood which is located in the Upper Lot.
This was my family’s favorite ride during our recent visit. The kids still talk about it days after our visit.
Height Requirements: Riders must be at least 48″ tall to ride. Loose items must be stowed in the free lockers.
2. Flight of the Hippogriff
Next to the Harry Potter and Forbidden Journey ride is the Flight of the Hippogriff – an outdoor roller coaster ride at Universal Studios Hollywood. I mentioned outdoor as most of the rides at Universal are indoors.
Flight of the Hippogriff is a family-friendly roller coaster that dives around the pumpkin patch and then swoops past Hagrid’s Hut. It is the 2nd Harry Potter ride available at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. You get to see the Hogwarts Castle really well from this ride.
The Flight of the Hippogriff ride does not go upside down or go on a steep drop but rather it’s really a family-friendly roller coaster that mostly goes on its side. It is not a very scary ride but it’s still a thrill ride depending on the age of the rider.
Height Requirements: You must be 39″ tall to ride Flight of the Hippogriff and riders between 39″ and 48″ must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
3. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
Are you a fan of the Minions? Well, you can become one at the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride – one of the most fun rides at Universal Studios Hollywood where you get to join Gru, his daughters, and the mischievous Minions as they train you to be a Minion.
The Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride is not a roller coaster ride but a computer-animated simulator ride. When it first debuted, it was a 3D ride, they have since let go of the 3D glasses but the fun remains. When you enter the ride, it’s like entering a theater and everyone rides their own simulator ride in groups of four. Once the ride starts, you won’t even feel that there are other riders there, your focus will be on the animation screen. The simulation is so good that when you’re looking at the screen, it feels like you’re also going down a roller-coaster. The Minion Mayhem ride is not scary at all, it’s a thrill ride even kids can enjoy.
After the Minion Mayhem ride, you might meet Gru or one of the Minions for a photo opportunity outside. If you have young kids, take them to ride the Silly Swirly Fun Ride, play carnival games, go on the splash pad or the playground – all available at the Super Silly Fun Land at Universal Studios Hollywood Upper Lot. For us, it’s finally lunch break at Minions Cafe where we enjoyed a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup, loaded nachos with chicken, chicken caesar salad, and a chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese.
Height Requirements: Despicable Me Minion Mayhem riders must at least be 40″ tall to ride and riders 40″ to 48″ must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
4. The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash
Just in front of the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride is the newest kid-friendly ride at Universal Studios Hollywood – The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!
This new ride at Universal Studios Hollywood, located on the Upper Lot, combines 64 technologically-advanced animated figures with hyper-realistic media and projection mapping designed to take guests on a journey to meet some of their favorite Illumination characters from the movies, including Max, Snowball, Gidget, Chloe, and Duke, along with a host of other animal friends.
Two people can ride on what looks like a cardboard box around The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash ride while admiring how realistic the animals are. Before the ride ends, you get to even see yourself as a pet on a screen. If you move, the pet (which is you) imitates your movement. The ride gives a very happy vibe, it’s the perfect Universal Studios Hollywood ride for young kids.
Height Requirements: Riders must be at least 34″ tall to ride and if guests are between 34″ to 48″, they must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
5. Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge
The newest ride at Universal Studios Hollywood is Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge. Based on the Mario Kart video game which my girls are big fans of, the Mario Kart ride is an augmented reality dark ride. Put on the special goggles and battle Team Bowser alongside Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach. You’ll steer through underwater courses and courses in the clouds, collecting coins and throwing shells to win the Golden Cup. Compete as an individual and as part of a team while you play along with your favorite Super Mario™ characters.
Height Requirements: Riders must at least be 40″ tall and if guests are under 48″, they must be accompanied by a supervising companion. Child Swap and Single Rider options are available for this ride.
6. Studio Tour
Universal Studios Hollywood is famous for the Studio Tour. While aboard a tram, the Studio Tour takes you on a 60-minute behind-the-scenes guided tour through soundstages, movie sets like the courthouse square from the “Back to the Future” movie, airplane crash scene from the movie “War of the Worlds”, experience movie magic with the “Flash Flood”, get surprised at the “Jaws Lake”, and you also get to see famous cars used in various films.
The Studio Tour is one of the best rides at Universal Studios Hollywood because you also get to experience the King Kong 360 3-D while aboard the tram. In this attraction, guests wear special 3D glasses as they enter a darkened soundstage aboard the Studio Tour trams and are transported deep into a tangled jungle location. Find yourself caught in the middle of a titanic struggle between a 25’ Kong and a 35’ tall voracious dinosaur which then sends the packed trams sliding ever closer to the edge of a bottomless chasm.
You will also experience a 3D-HD ride with the “Fast & Furious – Supercharged” and a simulation of an 8.3 magnitude earthquake while on a subway station with the “Earthquake – The Big One” while aboard the tram on the famous Studio Tour.
Check for the last tram schedule to make sure you don’t miss it should you wish to plan it at the end of the day.
Height Requirements: The Studio Tour is open for all ages but parental discretion is advised due to mature theme/frightening images.
7. Jurassic World – The Ride
Jurassic World – The Ride, is the only water ride at Universal Studios Hollywood and is one of the 3 rides at the Lower Lot of Universal. Each boat ride seats 25 people and start out as a calm tour of the Mosasurus Aquarium Observatory, followed by an immersive land where you’ll come face-to-face with the new Indominus rex as she stalks you through the jungle. The Jurrasic World ride then ends with a 28 yards long drop, splashing riders with water once it reaches the bottom.
Height Requirements: To ride the Jurassic World – The Ride, guests bust be 42″ tall or if guests are between 42″ to 48″, they must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
8. Transformers: The Ride-3D
The Transformers: The Ride-3D is a dark ride that consists of motion platform-mounted vehicles which follow a 2,000 foot long track. Each vehicle fits 12 passengers. Throughout the ride, screens up to 60 feet high project 3D images of various Transformers characters as the Autobots attempt to protect the AllSpark from the Decepticons.
Height Requirements: To ride the Transformers: The Ride 3D, giests must be at least 40″ tall to ride and guests between 40″ to 48″ tall must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
9. Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride
Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride is the scariest thrill ride at Universal Studios Hollywood and I’m not talking about the skeletons or how it is a dark ride, but rather the way the roller coaster twist and turns in the dark at full speed sure put it on the maximum scale for its thrill factor. For all the thrill-seekers headed to Universal Studios Hollywood, this ride is for you.
The ride features linear induction motors that launch riders from a standstill to a maximum of 45 mph in a matter of seconds. This indoor roller coaster ride goes forward at that speed then as you sigh in relief that it’s over, it goes on the reverse!
Height Requirements: To ride the Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride, guests must at least be 48″ tall to ride.
10. Kung Fu Panda Adventure
The Kung Fu Panda Adventure at the Dreamworks Theatre is not technically a ride but it will still take you for a ride as you sit on a motion simulator seat while you join Master Po on a thrilling journey. This is another kid-friendly attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood that both kids and adults can enjoy.
The theater uses projection mapping on the interior walls of the theater and physical effects such as water, wind, and articulating seats that pivot and tilt. I recommend not seating towards the front as you can see the whole wall projection better from the back.
Height Requirements: All ages welcome, guest can elect to experience the attraction in a non-moving seat.
Note: Some Universal Studios Hollywood ride employs safety restraints which may restrict certain guests from riding due to body shape and size, test seat is available at the ride entrance.
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